Kindergarten registration has arrived and the reality that we've chosen to homeschool is hitting me full on. During a recent outing, a friend of mine told me that she had to leave a little early to register her daughter (who's the same age as Liam) for kindergarten. She confided that she really wanted to homeschool, but that her husband and family were totally unsupportive of the idea. Afterwards, my mind kept repeating KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION over and over again.
We're in the end process of conducting a dry run this year, figuring out which time of day works best for "class," the order of lessons, curriculum, meeting co-ops, keeping records, discovering the best way to sedate Ewan, all before things get official this fall. OH YES, THEY WILL GET OFFICIAL. We're fortunate enough in Missouri to have our local government recognize our right to home-educate our children without screwing us via a bunch of "regulatory" laws designed to intimidate and micro-manage homeschoolers as a form of penalization, unlike New York.
Among the things I've learned: Liam is a visual learner and very advanced in math. Advanced as in he finished an entire ABeka math workbook in the time it takes me to balance my checkbook. We've had some rough times, like when it took two weeks for him to differentiate between the short vowel sounds of "i" and "e," but actually seeing the lightbulb flick on over his head, his eyes brim with excitement, his face radiate with knowledge that he worked hard to acquire, it's worth it.
We feel ready enough now to brave the weird looks we've already started getting from some friends and family. Things get sticky when much of your family is peopled with public school teachers, or if your family is like my mother's, who believes resolutely in three things:
1) The superiority of Budweiser
2) Bush sucks
3) Public education is the panacea of our times
A close friend of mine once asked why on earth I wanted to teach my kids at home when I could send them to school and have my afternoons free. I don't really think I should base important decisions in my children's lives on what will free up my time. I realize that when I knowingly engaged in baby-making I was nonverbally consenting to never again use the bathroom, eat a meal, or do anything remotely selfish like enjoy an afternoon IN PEACE. (Semi-fully. I never thought I'd have to use the bathroom with a crying baby on my lap because he wanted to be held RIGHT THEN as the treble in his screams threatened to crumble our walls to dust.) They're minor inconveniences of which I think most parents happily sacrifice.
While I personally endorse homeschooling for my family, it's not for everyone. It benefits some families to send their kids to an outside place of learning rather than teach them at home. However for us, it works.